Thursday, August 24, 2006

RADVISION Enhances H.324M Toolkit for Fast Video Call Set-up

RADVISION announced the availability of fast call set-up support in the new release of its 3G-324M toolkit, aligning the software with the recent improvements to the 3G standard established by ITU-T Study Group 16. These improvements are designed to enhance the experience of 3G video subscribers by significantly reducing the amount of time required in setting up a video call.

The ITU has included RADVISION's intellectual property related to fast call setup as an integral and mandated part of a revision to the H.324M standard for 3G video, known as H.324 Annex K MONA (Media Oriented Negotiation Acceleration). The newly released 3G-324M Toolkit fully supports H.324 Annex K MONA.

The H.324M standard is used in cellular 3G networks to exchange real-time and bi-directional video traffic that is used in popular services.

RADVISION said the improvements significantly shorten the call set-up time required when requesting such video services as video fun tones, video conferencing and video community chat groups.

DISH & Warner Bros. Sign VOD Deal

EchoStar Communications' DISH Network satellite TV service reached an agreement with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group to carry the studio's current and catalog titles on its Video On Demand platform, DISH On Demand, as well as Pay-Per-View services, including high definition. DISH On Demand service is currently available on certain DVR receivers.

SunRocket Raises $33 Million for Consumer VoIP Service

SunRocket, a provider of consumer VoIP service, secured $33 million for its Series C round of institutional financing, bringing the firm's total venture capital raised to approximately $80 million.

The company said it has nearly tripled its subscriber base in 2006, although subscriber numbers were not disclosed.

SunRocket plans to use the money "to accelerate product and feature development, penetrate strategic new sales channels, and enhance the overall customer experience."

A new customer care center opened in Springfield, Missouri earlier this month and will employ as many as 500 workers by the end of the year.

The Series C includes participation from all of SunRocket's existing investors: BlueRun Ventures, Mayfield Fund, DCM and Anthem Capital Management.

Nokia Siemens Networks Announces Executive Team

Nokia and Siemens announced the key executive appointments that will become effective when their merger is complete and the new company starts operations, which is expected by January 1, 2007.

Nokia and Siemens announced previously that Simon Beresford-Wylie would assume the position of CEO at Nokia Siemens Networks; Mika Vehvilainen would serve as Chief Operating Officer (COO); Karl-Christoph Caselitz would serve as Chief Market Operations Officer (CMO); and Peter Schonhofer would serve as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

The business units of Nokia Siemens Networks will be global organizations with management and personnel distributed in many countries, including both Finland and Germany.

Stephan Scholz, currently Senior Vice President and Head of Carrier Development in Siemens Communications, will lead the Research, Technology and Platforms organization, focusing on research, technology and cross-business unit synergies including common platforms. Scholz will report to Vehvilainen.

Business unit leaders for Nokia Siemens Networks will be:

Jose Costa e Silva, who will lead the Services business unit. Costa e Silva, currently Senior Vice President and Head of Europe and Americas at Mobile Networks in Siemens Communications, will report to Caselitz. Costa e Silva will be based in Germany.

Ari Lehtoranta, who will lead the Radio Access business unit. Lehtoranta, currently Senior Vice President & General Manager of the Radio business at Nokia, will report to Vehvilainen. Lehtoranta will be based in Finland.

Christian Unterberger, who will lead the Service Core and Applications business unit. Unterberger, currently President Fixed Networks at Siemens Communications, will report to Vehvilainen. Unterberger will be based in Germany.

Christian Fredrikson, who will lead the Operation Support Systems business unit. Fredrikson, currently General Manager of the Core Networks business at Nokia, will report to Vehvilainen. Fredrikson will be based in Finland.

Martin Lust, who will lead the Broadband Access business unit. Lust, currently President, Fixed Networks Access at Siemens Communications, will report to Vehvilainen. Lust will be based in Germany.

Bernd Schumacher, who will lead the IP Networking and Transport business unit. Schumacher, currently President, Siemens Optical Networks at Siemens Communications, will report to Vehvilainen. Schumacher will be based in Germany.

The regional organization for Nokia Siemens Networks will report to Caselitz. Its leaders will be:

Mark Louison, who will lead the North American region. Louison is currently Senior Vice President of North America for Nokia Networks.

Fernando Terni, who will lead the Latin American region. Terni is currently Senior Vice President of Latin America for Nokia Networks.

Zhiqiang Zhang, who will lead the China region. Zhang is currently General Manager of Siemens Communications in China. David Ho, currently Senior Vice President of China for Nokia Networks, will serve as Chairman of Nokia Siemens Networks in China.

Jurgen Bill, who will lead the Western and Southern Europe region. Bill is currently Senior Vice President of Asia Pacific for Mobile Networks in Siemens Communications.

Kai Uebach, who will lead the Northern Europe region. Uebach is currently President of the EMEA Region for Mobile Networks in Siemens Communications.

Jan Cron, who will lead the Middle East and Africa region. Cron is currently Vice President and General Manager of the Middle East Region in Mobile Networks for Siemens Communications.

Rajeev Suri who will lead the Asia Pacific region. Suri is currently Senior Vice President of Asia Pacific for Nokia Networks.

Global Crossing Offers to Acquire UK's Fibernet for $96 Million

Global Crossing announced a cash offer to acquire all of the issued and to-be-issued shares of Fibernet Group Plc , a UK-based provider of specialist telecommunications networks, for approximately $96.1 million (50.6 million British pounds sterling).

Fibernet serves a marquee roster of UK corporate enterprise and carrier customers, including the Bank of England, Citigroup, IBM and Carphone Warehouse. provides its services from a national fiber network in the UK and also from its metropolitan networks in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Reading. The company has more than 100 points of presence in the UK and an additional 12 in Frankfurt, Germany. In the financial year ended August 31, 2005, Fibernet reported revenue of 47.9 million pounds sterling and Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) of 15.9 million pounds sterling, or $91.0 million and $31.2 million, respectively, at current exchange rates.

Global Crossing and Fibernet have complementary long haul networks.

"Global Crossing and Fibernet have complementary businesses in the UK. The opportunity to combine and grow these businesses is compelling and exciting for us. I look forward to a quick and seamless integration upon closing and to better serving existing customers and welcoming new customers with the expanded range of products we will offer," said John Legere, chief executive officer of Global Crossing.

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2006 and is conditioned on acceptance by Fibernet shareholders and regulatory approvals.


FCC Grants New Certification for XM Radios

The FCC issued new grants of authority for three XM Satellite radios with FM transmitters after determining that the radios are in compliance with FCC regulations. The XM plug-and-play radios -- Audiovox Xpress, Delphi RoadyXT, and XM Sportscaster -- are three of XM's primary products at retail.

XM Satellite pulled the units off of the market in May 2006, after the FCC questioned whether the power output of the FM radio was too strong.

ST and China's Dahua Develop Dual-Mode Cable/IP STB

STMicroelectronics and Dahua Technology, a Chinese supplier of cable and IPTV set-top boxes, announced a jointly-developed, highly- integrated, digital-cable and IP set-top box. At the heart of Dahua's design is a dedicated chip belonging to ST's STi7100 family of Advanced Video Codecs (AVC). This system-on-chip (SoC) solution integrates support for advanced high-definition H.264/MPEG4 AVC and MPEG4 P2 standard definition (SD) in addition to MPEG2 encoded video signals. The box, which begins deployment in Hangzhou Province in August 2006, will enable consumers to enjoy a new three-in-one digital media experience including digital-cable TV, video-on-demand, and web browsing.

ST said it is the first silicon supplier to provide single-chip dual-mode digital set-top-box solutions for the China market.

Broadcom Marks 15th Anniversary

Broadcom marked the fifteenth anniversary of its founding in 1991 by Henry T. Nicholas III and Henry Samueli, each of whom earned a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from UCLA. The company went public in April 1998.

Broadcom chips are found in broadband gear such as DSL and cable modems, digital cable, satellite and IP set-top boxes, and high definition DVD players and personal video recording devices; in networking infrastructure equipment, which rely on Broadcom switches, controllers, PHYs, security processors, broadband processors, and server I/O chipsets; and in mobile platforms and wireless connectivity devices and equipment such as cellular phones and Wi-Fi routers with VoIP, Bluetooth and WLAN technologies.

BellSouth Eliminates $2.97 DSL Regulatory Fee

BellSouth will eliminate a $2.97 per month charge associated with consumer DSL service, agreeing to pass on the savings that began when a federal regulatory fee expired earlier in August. According to media reports, the decision followed a set of letters sent by the FCC to BellSouth and Verizon informing them of forthcoming investingations into potential violations of truth-in-billing laws. At issue is whether operators are continuing to collect regulatory fees that the government is no longer assessing.

As described on BellSouth's website, the broadband fee was designed to recover a number of costs remaining from previous regulatory obligations and other network expenses that increase the cost of the Internet services we provide to consumers.

BellSouth said its DSL Internet service customers will see this change on their bills within a week, although it will take up to six weeks to implement this change for all of customers. Any payments attributable to this fee will be credited back to August 16, 2006.


Broadband Reaches Nearly One in Four EU households

Almost one in four EU households is now connected to the internet via high-speed "broadband" links, according to an EU-wide survey conducted by the European Commission.

Some key findings include:

  • Broadband's popularity grows with household size -- only 12% of single households have it, compared with 34% of those with four members or more.

  • Of those households that have only "narrowband" internet connections, 40% do not wish to upgrade, either because they are satisfied with the speed of their dial-up connection or because they do not use the Internet enough to justify the higher cost of broadband.

  • The average proportion of single households with only a mobile phone (i.e. no fixed line) climbs to 58% for the 15-29 years age group and falls to 6% only for persons aged 60 years old and over

  • Among the benefits of mobile phones, the ability to be contacted at any place, any time is valued more highly (34% of replies) than the freedom to make calls (19%).

  • Only 15% of households use public payphones, the main reason being when the mobile phone is out of credit, out of battery or out of range.

  • 82% of households equipped with an Internet connection have anti-virus software, but only 58% have anti-spam software.

  • In the EU 25 overall, more than one in three respondents were able to cite 112 as the single emergency number to call from any location in the EU against one in five as measured five years ago.

  • Almost all EU households (97%) have access to voice telephony services, 61% have both fixed and mobile phones and 18% have only mobiles.

"I see these figures -- in particular the fact that so many people are satisfied to stay with slow speed internet access -- as a challenge to operators and service providers to develop more attractive broadband offers both in terms of content and in terms of price," stated Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding.

proportion of

EU households

Overall telephone access

(fixed and/or mobile)


Mobile telephone access


Fixed telephone access


Both fixed and mobile telephone access


Mobile but no fixed telephone access


Fixed but no mobile telephone access


Broadband Internet access


DSL access


Cable-modem access










Source: European Commission

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ericsson Wins US$1 Billion GSM/GPRS Contract with India's Bharti

Bharti Airtel has awarded Ericsson an estimated US$1 billion contract, including expansion and an upgrade of its GSM/GPRS network and managed services. Under the three-year deal, Ericsson will manage design, development and deployment of Bharti's network, including capacity and coverage, enabling the operator to expand in rural India and reach out to all towns and cities in 15 regions.

Ericsson will also upgrade the network with mobile softswitch (Media Gateway and MSC Servers), the solution that paves the way to an all-IP network.

Ericsson is a long-term Bharti partner, managing more than 70 percent of its GSM/GPRS network in 15 regions in India.
  • As of July 2006, Bharti Airtel was serving over 25 million users.

Ericsson changes NASDAQ ticker symbol to ERIC

As of market open on August 24, 2006, Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERICY) American Depositary Receipts will trade on NASDAQ under the new ticker symbol "ERIC".

Ericsson has been listed on NASDAQ since 1978.

NTT DoCoMo Launches HSDPA on August 31

NTT DoCoMo will launch a High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) service on August 31 and start selling Japan's first HSDPA-compatible handset, the 3G FOMA N902iX HIGH-SPEED.

In FOMA HIGH-SPEED areas, the N902iX is capable of packet downlinks of up to 3.6Mbps, approximately 10 times faster than current FOMA handsets.

Starting August 31, all of central Tokyo will be included in these HIGH-SPEED areas, and all major Japanese cities will be covered by the end of October. DoCoMo also plans to broaden the areas to cover 70% of the national population by the end of March 2007 and 90% by the end of March 2008. Outside these areas, both uplink and downlink speeds can still reach as high as 384Kbps.

The handset will be compatible with DoCoMo's new Music Channel service, also starting from August 31. Users will be able to automatically download music programs of about up to one hour during the late-night hours for listening later.

The handset also supports the "Chaku-Uta Full" service, which enables the downloading of complete music tracks for normal playback or to create clips for ringtones.

No special contract or service charge for HSDPA will be required, and charges for FOMA packet communications will remain unchanged. FOMA discount packet services, such as the pake-hodai (packet flat-rate) service, will also be applicable to HSDPA.

HSDPA technology was standardized by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project and offers a theoretical maximum downlink speed up to 14Mbps.

California Adopts Major Telecom Pricing Reform

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted unanimously to allow the state's four largest wireline phone companies - AT&T (formerly SBC/Pacific Bell), Verizon, SureWest, and Frontier - to price their services more like their voice market competitors.

The decision stems from the PUC's Uniform Regulatory Framework (URF) proceeding, the first major examination of California telephone regulation in 18 years. Until today, the PUC imposed many regulatory reporting requirements and conducted extensive reviews of landline telephone prices. The PUC, however, did not impose these rules on many competitors that have entered into the voice communications market in recent years. These voice competitors include cable companies, VoIP providers, and mobile and fixed wireless companies.

Although the Commission recognized that market competition sufficiently checks landline phone companies' pricing power, the Commission decision maintains current basic residential rates for phone service at current levels until Jan. 1, 2009. These rates are linked to social policy programs, which are currently under Commission review.

The PUC decision eliminates required state approvals of price changes for all other business and residential rates and services. While landline and competitive local exchange carriers will be required to provide 30-day notice to customers of any proposed price increase, a price increase will go into effect the day after it is filed with the PUC.

The PUC said its 264-page PUC decision was based on an extensive review of market conditions and related federal and state statutes. The PUC found that market competition now adequately checks landline phone companies' pricing power. The PUC also noted that California statutes encourage it: (1) to rely on open and competitive markets unless the elimination of regulation would result in rates being set above "just and reasonable" levels; and (2) to use technologically and competitively neutral measures in order to encourage the development of new technologies.

"Regulation needs to recognize there is a competitive voice communications marketplace. The changes we order today will enhance competition by allowing new services to be provided sooner and eliminating unnecessary government regulation," stated PUC President Michael R. Peevey.

AOL Video Launches Digital Movie Downloads

AOL launched its digital movie download service and announced new partnerships with four major Hollywood studios: 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.

Select movie titles are available for purchase and download with prices ranging from $9.99 to $19.99 per movie. Once downloaded, movies can be viewed offline as well as on other PCs and compatible portable devices that use Windows Media Player. They cannot be burned to DVD.

  • AOL Video is using Microsoft's Digital Rights Management (DRM).

  • The AOL Video portal features an interactive programming guide that organizes the video programming into more than 50 branded video-on-demand channels.

  • AOL Video also features video search capabilities powered by technology from Truveo and Singingfish.

  • The video player that can go full screen without losing picture quality and that supports AOL's exclusive Hi-Q video format for viewing videos online.

GigaBeam Completes $10 Million Institutional Financing for its WiFiber

GigaBeam completed the private placement of $10 million of Series C convertible preferred stock and common stock purchase warrants to purchase approximately 860,653 shares of common stock for an aggregate purchase price of $10 million to a limited number of institutional investors.

GigaBeam WiFiber products operate in the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz radio spectrum bands. This portion of the radio frequency spectrum has been authorized by the FCC for wireless point-to-point commercial use.

NTT West-Okinawa Selects Alvarion's BreezeACCESS

NTT West-Okinawa plans to deploy Alvarion's BreezeACCESS VL system in rural and island areas of Okinawa where wired infrastructure is too difficult and costly to deploy. BreezeACCESS VL's enhanced features, such as OFDM non-line-of-sight (NLOS), extended reach of more than 30 kilometers (19 miles). It can be used to provide triple play services to business and residential subscribers in the 5 GHz bands. It offers 20 MHz channel spacing and automatic clear channel selection (ACCS). Its built-in spectrum analyzer can monitor the noise on each channel. Financial terms were not disclosed.

China Academy of Telecommunication Research Selects Spirent for 10 Gbps Router Testing

The China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR) of the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) has selected Spirent for large-scale testing of 10-Gigabit core routers. Spirent test solutions will enable CATR to test the performance of core routers under high-capacity configurations and extreme networks conditions found in real-world operations.

The CATR test environment consists of sixteen 10 Gbps packet over SONET (PoS) interfaces. As a part of the test series, Spirent will assess the performance of MPLS platforms, VPNs, multicast service and IPv6 networks. With these series of tests, CATR will be able to fully access the extreme forwarding capacity of core router devices and understand the technological trend of mainstream routers. The test series also will provide valuable data and experiences to telecom research organizations in China for researches and explorations on router testing methodologies.

Mobile Satellite Ventures Awarded New ATC Patent

Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV) was awarded another U.S. patent for its advanced Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) technology. The new patent covers wireless communications systems in which user devices receive information from terrestrial base stations using terrestrial frequencies (e.g., cellular/PCS frequencies) but relay information back to the base stations using satellite frequencies.

In accordance with the patent, a system enabled to use terrestrial frequencies may use all of its terrestrial frequencies to maximize capacity from base stations to user devices while relying on satellite frequencies for return link communications.

According to Dr. Peter D. Karabinis, Senior Vice President & Chief Technical Officer of MSV and inventor of the '708 Patent, the patent may be most relevant to broadband broadcast systems that require return signaling channels to enable a diverse array of interactive services.
  • In May 2006, Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV) and its joint venture partner, MSV Canada, announced an agreement with Boeing to accelerate the deployment of its two North American satellites, which will form the backbone of its satellite-cellular wireless communications network. The agreement will move up, by approximately eight months, the construction, launch and operations of each of the two North American satellites, with the launch of the U.S. satellite scheduled for mid-2009 and the Canadian satellite in early 2010. These two new satellites will replace and expand upon the current MSAT satellite system operated by MSV and MSV Canada. The development of the third satellite for South America, MSV-SA, has been deferred to the third delivery position for the MSV system.

  • Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) technology allows existing satellite phone spectrum to also be used in dedicated terrestrial networks. Call capacity is managed and reallocated, in real time, between satellite and terrestrial networks via a common control center. Calls can be made over either network using the same phone handset. ATC technology could be used to supplement satellite phone service with a ground-based network to provide a "back-up" signal in and around buildings where satellite signals cannot reach.

Nikon Digital Cameras Offer WiFi Connector to T-Mobile Hotspots

The new Nikon COOLPIX S7c digital camera will offer wireless access T-Mobile Hotspot Wi-Fi Service, enabling camera users to wirelessly share photos with family and friends.

The COOLPIX S7c is a 7.1 megapixel, 3x Nikkor Zoom ED lens camera. The first time that a COOLPIX S7c user connects the camera to the T-Mobile network at any of the thousand T-Mobile HotSpot locations nationwide, that user's one year of complimentary T-Mobile HotSpot service is automatically activated**. Choosing Wi-Fi mode on the COOLPIX S7c in a U.S.-based T-Mobile Hot Spot location automatically connects the camera to the T-Mobile network, activates the complimentary T-Mobile HotSpot service, and readies the camera to share pictures through a high-speed Wi-Fi connection.

The T-Mobile HotSpot service enables a total of up to 50MB of images to be sent to a T-Mobile server and stored for a maximum of two weeks. The server sends an email to each specified recipient with a thumbnail and a link to a Web page, thereby allowing COOLPIX S7c users to invite friends and family members to view the images right away, download full-resolution versions of the images to their own computer, or enjoy the images as a slideshow.

T-Mobile HotSpot service in currently available in 7,000 U.S. locations, including select Starbucks, Borders, FedEx Kinko's, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Red Roof Inn locations, Sofitel and Novotel hotels, and airline clubs.